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THE LOWDOWN: Week 14

Welcome to The Lowdown for Week 14. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!

Gracious Host

As many of you know (or can guess from my cheery demeanor), I’m a native New Yorker: Bronx-born, Bronx-bred, and when the time is right I’ll be Bronx-dead. What that means is I think fast, talk loudly, walk around with constant heartburn and have no tolerance for rubes. Little things annoy the crap out of me (like having to repeat my lunch order to a new deli worker)  while I wouldn’t bat an eye at what many would consider serious events (like the guy who tried to stab me in Times Square last week). It’s how we New Yawkers roll.

So you can imagine my annoyance at having to play host to some out-of-towners this week. Trudging around town, showing them the sights… yes, that’s the Statue of Liberty. Yes, that’s a real big Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza. Yes, that’s the Freedom Tower. Yes, those are real Jewish people (apparently, not too many of those in Kansas and Montana).

But the worst part might be convincing these folks how to properly order food when in New York. You don’t ask for coffee with milk and sugar; you ask for a “regular”; you don’t have a piece of cheese pizza for lunch, you order a slice; if you ask for jelly on your bagel and cream cheese, odds are you’ll get punched in the face. And deservedly so.

And while I’m at it, let’s get something clear: if someone claims to be from New York, ask them from which part. If the answer comes back as anything other than Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens or “The City,” then you’ve got a fraud on your hands and I suggest you take anything they have to say with a grain of salt.

Now on to this week’s gibberish…

 

Interesting Players of the Week

Not necessarily the players in line for the biggest games this week, but rather some players that caught my interest and upon whom I shall cast my gaze…

QB

  1. Drew Brees, NOS (vs. TBB) – 42.50
  2. Aaron Rodgers, GBP (vs. Sea) – 39.69
  3. Tom Brady, NEP (vs. Bal) – 39.59
  4. Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. RAM) – 39.20
  5. Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. CLE) – 38.95
  6. Cam Newton, CAR (vs. SDC) – 38.82
  7. Kirk Cousins, WAS (vs. PHI) – 38.74
  8. Philip Rivers, SDC (vs. CAR) – 38.21
  9. Andrew Luck, IND (vs. Hou) – 37.93
  10. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. Buf) – 37.65

Looks like this is the time of year when guys like Andy Dalton  become the cause of much anxiety– great matchup, has the potential to put up some nice numbers. But do you start him over guys like Matthew Stafford (#15 this week) with the playoffs (or Championship) on the line? The correct answer is: yes. Just ask my friend Ken, who for two years running has lost in the playoffs because he chose to start proven veterans (Peyton Manning in 2014, Aaron Rodgers in 2015) instead of the guys Mighty Max told him to start. Remember, this time of year is data-rich, so the computer models tend to be more accurate than in the beginning of the season. Now please forget I told you to start Colin Kaepernick last week…

RB

  1. David Johnson, ARI (vs. Mia) – 47.77
  2. Matt Forte, NYJ (vs. SFO) – 46.64
  3. Le’Veon Bell, PIT (vs. BUF) – 45.71
  4. LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. PIT) – 45.18
  5. DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs. Den) – 44.46
  6. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (vs. NYG) – 43.55
  7. Todd Gurley, RAM (vs. ATL) – 42.59
  8. Melvin Gordon, SDC (vs. CAR) – 42.34
  9. Devonta Freeman, ATL (vs. RAM) – 40.18
  10. Jeremy Hill, CIN (vs. Cle) – 39.29

Todd Gurley and Jeremy Hill have been largely disappointing this season, but they’ve both been able to put up the occasional (but rare) good game. They both have some favorable matchups this week, so I expect them to post scores near the top of their seasonal ranges.

WR

  1. Odell Beckham, NYG (vs. Dal) – 59.36
  2. Mike Evans, TBB (vs. NOS) – 58.16
  3. Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. BUF) – 56.86
  4. Demaryius Thomas, DEN (vs. TEN) – 55.96
  5. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (vs. TEN) – 55.40
  6. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. MIA) – 53.95
  7. Tyrell Williams, SDC (vs. Car) – 53.76
  8. Doug Baldwin, SEA (vs. GBP) – 52.97
  9. Kenny Britt, RAM (vs. Atl) – 52.71
  10. Brandin Cooks, NOS (vs. TBB) – 52.61

Been really liking what I’ve seen out of Tyrell Williams this season. When Keenan Allen went down early in the season, many (including myself) expected Travis Benjamin to step up and fill the void; Williams had other ideas, and he’s been a solid start all season long. I also like his toughness– he’s been playing well despite battling nagging injuries. If the Chargers’ WR corps can stay healthy next season, they’ll easily be one of the NFL’s top groups.

TE

  1. Tyler Eifert, CIN (vs. Cle) – 29.24
  2. Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. GBP) – 28.62
  3. Antonio Gates, SDC (vs. CAR) – 27.11
  4. Greg Olsen, CAR (vs. SDC) – 26.03
  5. Gary Barnidge, CLE (vs. Cin) – 25.59
  6. Delanie Walker, TEN (vs. DEN) – 25.13
  7. Jason Witten, DAL (vs. NYG) – 24.99
  8. Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. WAS) – 24.86
  9. Lance Kendricks, RAM (vs. ATL) – 23.76
  10. C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU (vs. IND) – 23.02

Seeing a lot of Bengals players in these lists this week? That’s what happens when you play the Browns… speaking of the Browns, has anyone told Hue Jackson that Gary Barnidge is a pretty good TE? Why haven’t any of Jackson’s QBs tried to get Barnidge the ball this season? I’m not kidding, can anyone answer that question for me?

About John Georgopoulos

John T. Georgopoulos is a 23-year veteran of fantasy sports journalism. John’s Fantasy Forecast series has won the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best Series, and he’s been nominated as an FSWA Award finalist on nine occasions. You can also listen to his weekly, non-sports NSFW opinions at The Riot.